Sexual maturity is reached at about eighteen months.Highland cattle also have a longer expected lifespan than most other breeds of cattle, up to 20 years.Mature bulls can weigh up to 800 kilograms (1,800 pounds) and cows can weigh up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).
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Their skill in foraging for food allows them to survive in steep mountain areas where they both graze and eat plants that many other cattle avoid.
They can dig through the snow with their horns to find buried plants.
A fold of semi-wild Highland cattle was studied, over a period of 4 years.
It was found that the cattle have a clear structure and hierarchy of dominance, which reduced aggression.
Mating occurs throughout the year with a gestation period of approximately 277–290 days.
Most commonly a single calf is born, but twins are not unknown.Since the early 20th century, breeding stock has been exported to many parts of the world, especially Australia and North America.It is estimated that there are now around 15,000 Highland cattle in the United Kingdom.Towards the end of the 1990s, there was a large semen and embryo trade between the UK and Canada.However, that has stopped, largely due to the BSE (mad cow disease) outbreaks in the United Kingdom.Samuel Amess, also from Scotland, who made a fortune in the Victorian goldfields and became Mayor of Melbourne in 1869, kept a small fold of black Highland cattle on Churchill Island.